Quora Answer: Why do you play tabletop role-playing games?
Quora Question: Tabletop role-playing games have changed my life. How do you started playing and what this experience has brought to you?

My answer on Quora: 

I  am a creator. I enjoy creating things for no other purpose than the joy  of creation. I love creating things within a rules framework --  characters I'll never play, monsters no one will ever fight, spells  nobody will ever cast. I do this when I'm stressed. When my wife was in  the hospital, I invented an entire specialized form of abjuration  inspired by Aikido. When I was sick recently, I invented a D&D  superhero game. Ethan Gilsdorf, author of "Of Dice and Men," put this experience put into words:

I  got the pendulum right for one of the same reasons I play D&D in  the first place. The prime mover in a nerd brain is the need to  understand how things are put together. My mood-regulating  neurotransmitters do the tango when I find a way to impose order on  chaos. Biochemically, it’s no different than the pleasure a jock gets  sinking a free throw. Every rule, every chart, every geeky statistic in a  game book or module feeds into this impulse. All those details allow us  to take apart existence, look at the individual parts, figure out how  they work, and put them back together. Some people relieve stress by  getting drunk or high and losing control; nerds find comfort by taking  control and applying structure. Logic is like a warm blanket.

This, for me and for Ethan, is "flow": Flow (psychology) - Wikipedia

In  positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state  of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed  in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the  process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete  absorption in what one does.

Why  do role-playing games create flow? Because they’re limitless. Dr.  Richard Forest summarizes the beauty of role-playing games thusly in the  reprint of Oracle Magazine:

D&D  is not in the books. It is at the game table. It is in our scribbled  notes. It is in our maps, in our jokes, in our daydreams during dull  classes or meetings, in our forum posts from work, in our blogs and  tweets and zines...The game itself is built to support its own  extension. Ability scores. Races. Character classes. Equipment. Spells.  Monsters. Magic items. Random encounters. Dungeons. Categories of things  that fit together, loosely. Not too well. Not completely. Not entirely.  Open-ended categories that can be filled with new things. Dungeons  & Dragons is never finished. Want more Ability Scores? Add new ones.  New character classes? The blueprint is there. New spells? New  monsters? New magic items? Yes. New dungeons. You can’t play the game  without creating something new. Dungeons & Dragons is a machine for  generating more Dungeons & Dragons, and once you pick it up and  start playing it, it’s yours. Which is the basis of the entire hobby.

That is why I play role-playing games.

Like this answer? Join us on Patreon for just $1/month; follow me on Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution  of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and  Awfully Familiar. Thanks for reading!